Sitcoms rarely start well. So much of the charm of a good sitcom comes from the chemistry between the cast members, and finding out who plays off each other well takes a few episodes. I tend to give comedies seven episodes to figure out what works and what doesn’t, before judging the quality of the show.
Enlisted, Fox’s newest addition to its pretty stellar comedy lineup (other than the heinous Dads, of course), doesn’t need the seven episode leeway. It’s already pretty great. The chemistry between the cast already exists, and the supporting cast is somewhat developed. Most importantly, the show already has the heart that this type of sitcom needs to be worth watching once a week.
The show follows three very different brothers, Pete, Derrick, and Randy Hill, as they work together on a small military base in Florida, as part of a fairly incompetent squad. Now, this show isn’t the type to watch for those looking for a completely original and groundbreaking new series. Similar things have been done before in other versions of the “workplace comedy”. But Enlisted is still worth watching, if only for the heart that is inherent in any comedy Kevin Biegel, series creator, has worked on. His earlier shows, Scrubs (as a writer) and Cougar Town (as a writer and creator) are both known for having sentiment to support the humour, and Biegel has clearly learned the importance of this during his time on both shows. Both those shows can be outrageously funny, but they can also do an episode centered on something serious (i.e. death) and not have it seem out-of-place. Enlisted isn’t afraid to be sentimental one episode in, which works to its benefit. The premise of the show itself is created by something sad–the 3 brothers all became soldiers because their father went to war and didn’t return–and the writers don’t shy away from that sadness. Their trauma is present in the way each Hill brother behaves, and in how they react to each other.
Sometimes a show doesn’t need to be groundbreaking to be worth watching. So far, it seems that Enlisted is well on its way to have the type of show you want to hangout with once a week, and sometimes that’s the best type of sitcom there is. And if nothing that I’ve said yet has convinced you to give this show a chance, Chris Lowell (who plays Derrick Hill) is finally being given a chance to redeem himself for being Piz on Veronica Mars, which is something.